It's the start of a new era in Alberta as the Edmonton Oilers prepare to claim orange as their primary uniform color. Oilers CEO Bob Nicholson told the Edmonton Journal today that the club will be wearing its orange third jersey through the playoffs and beyond.
The news comes as Edmonton clinched its first playoff berth in 11 years. Their last postseason visit came in 2006 when they advanced all the way to the Stanley Cup Final only to fall in Game 7 to the Carolina Hurricanes. The downhill spiral that ensued is finally ending.
Fans have taken to the orange uniform over the past two years since it was introduced — so much so that the team is now committing to it full time. Adidas will drop third jerseys for a season while it gets up to speed as the new provider of all NHL uniforms. So if the Oilers don't go with orange home jerseys next year, they won't be able to wear the color at all.
As an interesting side note, the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs will mark the 25th consecutive year without a royal blue Oilers jersey in the postseason. They started wearing navy blue in 1996-97 as they made the playoffs for the first time in five years.
From 1997 on, they qualified every year except 2002 and 2004 until their 2006 Stanley Cup defeat. It was 2009 when they started wearing the royal blue again. And now, in 2017, their first playoff appearance in 11 years, they're ditching it.
So the last time the Oilers wore royal blue in a playoff game was when they were swept out of the Conference Finals by the Chicago Blackhawks in 1992.
In case you were wondering about any of that.
As far as the history of the orange jersey itself, there isn't much. When the Oilers first entered the WHA in 1972, they wore orange. After two seasons, they swapped it for royal blue. They joined the NHL in 1979 where the New York Islanders were already blue and orange.
For 27 years they didn't touch their uniforms. Then in the mid-1990s darker colors were all the rage and they brought in the navy blue — with copper and red trim for good measure. It was in 2009 that they eventually went back to the brighter blue as a throwback third jersey. By 2011, they'd adopted the retro look full time. History then repeated itself with the orange throwback in 2015, now being adopted full time two years later.
I'm a fan of the switch, to be honest. The royal blue is nice, but it does bring their look a little too close the Islanders — who also wear a circular crest with their name in it. It's not like the Isles and Oilers are likely to be confused for each other, but I do like the variety.
Flyers fans may be a little annoyed, however, having owned orange since 1967. If I recall correctly, they are the only NHL team to wear orange primary jerseys in the modern era. The Ducks currently have an orange third and so did the Islanders and Canucks briefly years ago.
So are you happy to see the Oilers committing to orange?